Immunity through early development of coral larvae

Palmer, C. V., Graham, E., and Baird, A. H. (2012) Immunity through early development of coral larvae. Developmental and Comparative Immunology, 38 (2). 395-399.

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As a determinant of survival, immunity is likely to be significant in enabling coral larvae to disperse and successfully recruit, however, whether reef-building coral larvae have immune defenses is unknown. We investigated the potential presence and variation in immunity in the lecithotrophic larvae of Acropora tenuis through larval development. Enzymes indicative of tyrosinase and laccase-type melanin-synthesis were quantified, and the concentration of three coral fluorescent proteins was measured over six developmental stages; egg, embryo, motile planula, planula post-exposure to crustose coralline algae (CCA; settlement cue), settled, settled post-exposure to Symbiodinium (endosymbiont). Both types of melanin-synthesis pathways and the three fluorescent proteins were present in A. tenuis throughout development. Laccase-type activity and red fluorescence increased following exposure of planula to CCA, whereas tyrosinase-type activity and cyan fluorescence increased following settlement. No change was detected in the measured parameters following exposure to Symbiodinium. This study is the first to document the coral larval immune responses and suggests the melanin-synthesis pathways have disparate roles- the laccase-type potentially non-immunological and the tyrosinase-type in cytotoxic defense. Our results indicate that corals have the potential to resist infection from the earliest life history phase.

Item ID: 22587
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-0089
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2012 23:47
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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